Ten LGBT-rights protesters were detained Wednesday while attempting to picket the Olympic headquarters in Moscow.
Prominent gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev, who has been detained more than a dozen times at protests over his career as a campaigner, was reportedly among them, an eyewitness told Gazeta.ru.
Police were waiting as the protesters approached the entrance to the building, with signs decrying homophobia in hand, and detained them on the spot while several journalists stood by, the eyewitness said.
Photographs of the protest show two activists holding a sign that reads “Homophobia is a disgrace for Russia,” while Alexeyev carries one that reads “Sochi Olympics boycott — no! Sochi gay pride house — yes!”
Alexeyev has said he believed that the gay rights movement in Russia would benefit more from foreign contingents speaking out on the issue during the games than from a boycott.
Police later released the activists, who will be charged with holding an unsanctioned event, Alexeyev wrote on Twitter.
The protest was aimed at drawing attention to an order signed by President Vladimir Putin in August banning public rallies in heightened security zones during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Alexeyev has spoken out against the ban previously and said activists would find a way to stage a gay pride parade during the Olympics regardless.